Saturday, July 28, 2007

The perfect storm

This story should be getting some serious attention. It is the confluence of many different issues facing this country today: low paying jobs, no health care without insurance, hazardous products from China, and Walmart.

This woman claims that she bought a pair of Chinese-made flip-flops from Walmart, where she worked briefly until she figured out how bad they suck. She wore them a few days and had some kind of reaction to them. Click on the links at the bottom of the page on her site to see what happened to her feet.

Because this woman has no health insurance, she can't get decent medical treatment. When she went to report what happened to her to Walmart (fearing that other people might have the same problem), they treated her like dog shit and did absolutely nothing except blame the Chinese importer.

We all know that Walmart imports the cheapest products they can find. It's obvious from this story that they couldn't care less if they are actually safe for consumers. Product liability attorneys should be banging her door down.

Saturday Funnies

Here is Bob Geiger's round-up of this week's best political comics.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More oil company profits

Here's an idea: since the oil companies are raking in such wonderful profits for themselves and their investors thanks to the war in Iraq, why don't we ask them to fund it for a while?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Republicans for life

Cliff Schecter exposes the Republican Party loyalty oath being administered to members in Kansas. This would explain why Republicans in Congress will never go against George Bush. According to this oath, they swear they will never leave "The Party". This part of the oath is great:

The Republican Party, both nationally and domestically, was founded on sound and principled ideals, that include but are not limited to, personal liberty, individual freedom, responsive and citizen-based Government, life-affirming values, economic growth, strong and cutting edge military, low taxes and a mutual respect for fellow Republicans.
So Republicans believe in "personal liberty" and "individual freedom" as long as you do what they tell you to do. This sounds more like something the Nazi Party would demand members sign. What's not to love about today's Republican Party?

Saturday Funnies

Bob Geiger has 'em.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What will it take?

The Bush administration openly claims that Bush has the powers of a king. When will this Congress finally understand that impeachment is their only option?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Responding to Senator Feingold

Senator Russ Feingold wrote about the question of impeachment today on his Daily Kos blog and he invited comments from the public. Please hop over to Daily Kos and give the good Senator your opinion on the matter. Here is his statement:

Last week I came here to discuss how I plan to tighten my legislation to end the open-ended military mission in Iraq so the Administration would not be able to exploit it and keep tens of thousands of troops, if not more, stuck in the middle of an Iraqi civil war. I appreciated all of the responses and of course I noticed that many of you advocated for the impeachment of the President as well as the Vice President and the Attorney General. I’ve been hearing some of those same comments in Wisconsin.

It is clear that there are many people in this country, including myself, who demand accountability from this Administration for the terrible mess it made in Iraq and its egregious and even illegal power grabs throughout its six-plus years in power. I believe that the President and Vice President may well have committed impeachable offenses. But with so many important issues facing this country and so much work to be done, I am concerned about the great deal of time multiple impeachment trials would take away from the Congress working on the problems of the country. The time it would take for the House to consider articles of impeachment, and for the Senate to conduct multiple trials, would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for Congress to do what it was elected to do – end the war and address some of the other terrible mistakes this Administration has made over the past six and a half years.

While some have pointed to Republicans’ decision to impeach President Clinton, I am also concerned about the over-use of impeachment. And I am conscious of the fact that I would have a specific role to play as a sworn, impartial juror should an impeachment be tried in the Senate. If charges come to the Senate, I will approach them and the trial with the same seriousness that I had when I participated in the Clinton impeachment trial. I would not prejudge the case one way or the other should it come to this.

I fully respect the anger and frustration many Americans feel with this Administration. I share much of it. But on balance, I think Congress’s time is much better spent ending the war in Iraq, conducting the oversight that was absent for the last six years, and advancing progressive legislation.

UPDATE: I know that many of you disagree with my approach to this issue, but I thought it was important to make it clear where I’m coming from and explain why I am not calling for impeachment.

I certainly do believe in holding this Administration accountable and upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. That’s why last year I called for the President to be censured for his authorization of the illegal wiretapping program. I thought that was the appropriate course because it would have put the Senate on record in condemning the President’s wrongdoing. I still think that the censure resolution played an important role in focusing the public and the media’s attention on the issue. And I am working to make sure that Congress finally exercises its oversight responsibility by holding hearings and demanding information about the wiretapping program, the U.S. attorney firings and other abuses of power.

Many of you also wrote that if I recognize that the President and Vice President may have committed impeachable offenses, than it is our responsibility to impeach. As I pointed out, it is the role of the House to impeach, and it is the role of the Senate to try impeachments. But the Constitution left it up to the judgment of members of Congress whether or not moving forward with impeachment is best for the country.

Please keep the comments coming. I’ll do my best to read them all. I very much appreciate your honesty and directness. This exchange is very important to me.

I would love to respond to you, Senator Feingold. Thank you for providing the opportunity. I have tremendous respect for you, but I think you are wrong about impeachment. Before going any further, I want to make clear that I do not believe George Bush should be impeached because of his policies, destructive as they are. That is simply a matter of differences in political philosophy. He needs to be impeached because of his rampant disregard for the law. George Bush is not our king, he is our president and he must obey the laws just like the rest of us. As many people have been reminding us, we are a nation of laws, not of men.

There are, as you stated, many important issues facing this country that need to be resolved. It must be perfectly clear to you, however, that the Bush administration is responsible for either creating or exacerbating most of these issues in the first place. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he will fight any and all attempts to limit his power or to countermand his decisions (he is "the Decider," after all). To the detriment of everyone, Congress has been unable to accomplish much of anything this term to date because of Bush and his loyalists in Congress who consistently place loyalty to their party and president over loyalty to their country. While this in and of itself is not a reason for impeachment, it does illustrate quite clearly that very little can be accomplished as long as Bush and Cheney remain in office. Your argument that Congress needs to work on advancing progressive legislation is weak given what has transpired.

I also disagree with your assertion that the time it would take to conduct impeachment proceedings would prevent Congress from doing what it was elected to do (i.e. - end the Iraq War). The fact that one of Nancy Pelosi's first statements after becoming Speaker of the House was that impeachment is "off the table" indicates that she recognized that one of the reasons Democrats were thrust into power by the electorate was to investigate and prosecute Bush administration criminal activities up to and including impeachment.

Charlie Savage penned a timely article for today's Boston Globe that examines how effective Congress has been throughout history at stopping wars without cooperation from the President. His conclusion is not encouraging. When a president is determined to wage war, history reveals that Congress can do little to stop him. takes a look at this article as well. I put it to you that the only way to stop the war in Iraq is to remove from power the men responsible for starting it. Once the main impediments to ending the war are removed, then Congress can worry about fixing the countless other problems facing our nation.

While I understand your concern about the "over-use of impeachment" from a purely academic perspective, I don't think it makes much sense given the reality of the situation we now face. Impeachment is the only tool our founding fathers provided for dealing with an out of control executive like we have had for the past six years. Trying to work with Bush and Cheney like they are respectable, responsible statesmen simply will not work as the record clearly documents. What you are advocating is akin to saying that we are prosecuting too many people for murder, therefore we must be careful about how frequently we prosecute for murder in the future. If the next president is a Democrat who acts in a similar manner to Bush, I would expect Congress to impeach that President as well. This is not a partisan issue. Despite the unprecedented use of secrecy by this administration, there is a mountain of evidence to suggest massive criminal activity. Every time light is shown in previously dark places, suspicious if not downright illegal conduct is exposed. Bush has even demonstrated that he is willing to abuse his pardon authority to prevent investigation into his administration's activities. James Madison recognized the potential for abuse of the pardon power for this specific reason more than 200 years ago.

Your call to censure the President for his authorization of illegal wiretapping was a good idea at the time when Republicans still controlled both houses of Congress and many Americans were on the fence on the issue. Since that time, there has been a major change in public opinion. Polls now show that a plurality want Bush impeached and a majority want Cheney impeached. This is true despite the fact that commercial news organizations (i.e. - the liberal press) such as Fox News, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages attempt to poison the minds of millions of Americans with their blatant lies, half-truths, and propaganda. Since that time we have also seen that censure would do nothing to stop Bush from continuing to pursue his disastrous policies.

It's relatively easy to construct a case for impeachment. The illegal activities we have heard about are likely dwarfed by the quantity and seriousness of the illegal activities we don't know about. What is not often examined by those of us demanding it is the consequences of impeachment. It's easy to overlook the fact that Nancy Pelosi has a conflict of interest in that she would become President if both George Bush and Dick Cheney were impeached. However, this does not diminish her responsibility to fulfill her oath to uphold the Constitution. The American people are well aware of what has transpired over the past six years. With the exception of the contingency of right-wing authoritarians who want to make George Bush king for life, we recognize the threat and we are demanding action. We are demanding equal justice under the law. We are demanding our country back.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Why would any minority ever vote for a Republican?

The NAACP sponsored a GOP presidential debate yesterday. Out of the 9 Republican candidates invited, only one, Tom Tancredo, showed up. What more evidence is needed to show how little today's Republican party cares about anyone who isn't a white male? Twenty years ago, this picture would have made the front page of every major newspaper. The press must have been at whatever cocktail weenie party the other candidates were at.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The "I" word is gaining momentum

Senator Barbara Boxer from California just said what many of us having been yearning to hear:

I’ve always said that you need to keep [impeachment] on the table, and you need to look at these things, because now people are dying because of this administration. That’s the truth. And they won’t change course. They are ignoring the Congress. They keep signing these signing statements which mean that he’s decided not to enforce the law. This is as close as we’ve ever come to a dictatorship. When you have a situation where Congress is stepped on, that means the American people are stepped on. So I don’t think you can take anything off the table. Because, in fact, the Constitution doesn’t permit us to take these things off the table.
A plurality of Americans want George Bush impeached. A majority want Dick Cheney impeached. Is Congress finally waking up and realizing, as many of us do, that they have no other choice?

...And in other news, poetic justice

Sharpe James, the longtime mayor of Newark, NJ, was indicted today on 33 counts of corruption. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the Oscar-nominated documentary, Street Fight, about the 2002 Mayoral election in Newark between Sharpe James and Cory Booker. James used thug tactics, lies, distortions, and a huge war chest to beat Booker, who promised sweeping changes in poverty-striken Newark. If you haven't seen the documentary, I highly recommend it as it gives great insight into what goes on behind the scenes of political campaigns.

Miers a no-show

Harriet Miers has defied her Congressional subpoena and the Democratic committee members are rightfully incensed. Look for contempt of Congress proceedings against Miers in the near future.

Bush commits a(nother) felony?

Josh Marshall had an interesting post yesterday. It sure sounds like our fearless leader just committed a felony by instructing Harriet Miers to ignore her congressional subpoena.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The line in the sand - an open letter to Congress

I am outraged beyond words by the lawless behavior of the entire Bush administration and the apparent unwillingness of Congress to put an end to it. With the commutation of Lewis Libby's sentence for felony convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice, the Bush administration is once again demonstrating to the entire world that they believe themselves to be above the law. While it is within his constitutional authority to grant Mr. Libby a pardon or to commute his sentence, George Bush has never taken such drastic action with anyone else during his entire administration. Furthermore, he has gone back on his word to wait until the appeals process was exhausted in an obvious attempt to obstruct justice in an ongoing investigation. The Bush administration is doing everything in its power to destroy the foundations of the American system of government and the American way of life.

Our food isn't safe to eat, our water supply isn't safe to drink, and our air isn't safe to breathe. We are contributing to the destruction of the planet at a far higher rate than any other country. Instead of tackling these issues by standing up for the common good, the Republican party, lead by George Bush and Dick Cheney, has sought to eliminate government oversight of corporate activities in virtually every industry to the detriment of public safety in the name of corporate profits.

We have a Vice president who believes he belongs to some mystical fourth branch of government that is not accountable to anyone at all. Worse, Congress appears to be accepting his claims with nothing more than some vague threats about cutting off his funding while he continues to thumb his nose at all attempts at oversight.

We are much less safe from both internal and external threats than we were when George Bush took office. His administration has done virtually nothing to prevent major terrorist attacks other than tell us what a great job he is doing of funneling taxpayer money to his friends and contributors under the guise of the undefinable and perpetual “Global War on Terror”. He led us into a disastrous war against a country that had neither attacked us nor posed a threat to us based on outright lies. Our moral standing throughout the world has been irreparably damaged due to our government's use of extraordinary rendition, torture, and a general disregard for international law. Our national resources and treasure are being wasted in Iraq further enlarging our already out of control national debt with no thought given to how it will be repaid. (As an aside, imagine if this country had put $500 billion into hydrogen research instead of starting a war for oil in Iraq. We would now be at the beginning of the next great revolution – the hydrogen revolution – that would dramatically reduce our use of petroleum and our dependence on foreign oil, and would greatly reduce the amount of carbon we are dumping into the atmosphere. Whole new industries would have been created overnight creating a new wave of economic prosperity.)

Public education, the foundation for creating a well-informed, productive, and inventive citizenry, has been frighteningly eroded. Science, once the basis for the technological explosion that has occurred in the United States in the past 100 years, is under constant attack from special interests with the approval and assistance of political appointees in key positions throughout executive branch agencies and an unrestrained corporate media machine that is more interested in entertainment than exposing corruption.

Our technical and manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas while our shrinking middle class struggles with decreasing wages, fewer jobs, and ever increasing costs for health care. Our domestic labor jobs are going to illegal immigrants who work for less than minimum wage, pay no taxes, put a strain on publicly funded resources, take jobs from law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, and depress wages for everyone while the Bush administration refuses to enforce laws designed to punish corporations for hiring undocumented workers. Both the meat packing and poultry industries, once providing career employment for tens of thousands of American citizens, have been turned upside down and now are strictly the domain of illegal immigrants who receive substandard pay and are forced to work in deplorable conditions because they have no voice.

The United States imprisons more of its citizens that any other country in the world, mostly for nonviolent drug offenses as part of an ideological war on drugs that has consumed over a trillion dollars over 30 years while doing nothing to stem the flow or consumption of illegal drugs. Twenty-two percent of all people incarcerated in the world are in prisons in the United States, yet we only account for five percent of the world's population. Something is very wrong here, but instead of taking on the issue and doing something about it, politicians of all stripes choose to claim their “tough on crime” bonafides by doing nothing or preaching about the need for tougher sentencing for criminals.

Our courts have been packed with far-right ideologues who are now tearing down decades of progress in areas of workers rights and civil rights. The wall between church and state is under constant assault from the religious right who want to force everyone to hold their beliefs and have them enforced by the government.

Through all of this, the Democrats have done nothing more than talk because their useless consultants have them convinced that it is bad to take on the Republicans on virtually every issue. It's no wonder the American people think the Democratic party doesn't stand for anything. It will take decades for this country to recover from six years of Republican debauchery, if we are even able to recover at all, and Democrats are only worried about how they will look.

Last November, we, the American people, gave you, the Democratic Congress, the ability and mandate to do something about the almost innumerable major problems facing this country, yet collectively you have done little more than express outrage at what is happening. This is not why we elected you. The congressional oversight and investigations that are underway are encouraging, but so far very little has come out of them other than words. To quote General Petraeus, “Tell me how this ends.”

Even though George Bush has a Nixonian-level approval rating, Congress' is worse. The reason it is worse is because the people are sick and tired of Congress doing little more than paying lip service to the lawless activities and reckless policies of George Bush, his Republican cronies, and their sycophants.

The Bush administration has repeatedly lied to the American public and to Congress; has stripped us of many of our cherished civil rights; has eliminated the great writ of habeas corpus, without which our remaining rights are meaningless; has illegally spied on us by listening to our phone calls and reading our mail; and has intentionally subverted important intelligence gathering operations in the name of political retribution. In short, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales have committed high crimes and treason against the United States of America. What more do they have to do before Congress takes a serious look at impeachment? At what point do you say, enough is enough? Where is the line in the sand? The future of the United States and all of its citizens is literally in your hands.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Saturday Funnies

Bob Geiger's Saturday funnies. As expected, Dick Cheney gets a lot of unwanted, yet completely deserved attention.